Community Gardens •
Market Garden Project •
Slippery Rock Farmers' Market
What do we mean by 'organic'?
Organic refers to foodstuffs
grown or raised without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, hormones,
or genetic modifications. It
therefore also refers to the practices by which those crops were
grown. All kinds of agricultural products are produced
organically, including produce, grains, meat, dairy, eggs, fibers
such as cotton, flowers, and processed food products.
is not just about what's not done, as in the absence of
pesticides, but what practices do go on. Organic farming management relies on developing biological diversity in the field to
disrupt habitat for pest organisms, as well as the purposeful maintenance
and replenishment of soil fertility. Some of the essential
characteristics of organic systems include: design and
implementation of an "organic system plan" that describes the
practices used in producing crops and livestock products; a detailed
recordkeeping system that tracks all products from the field to
point of sale; and maintenance of buffer zones to prevent
inadvertent contamination from adjacent conventional fields.
Why grow organic?
Organically grown produce is safer than conventionally grown
produce. Health risks associated with hormonal, chemical, and
transgenic contamination are greatly reduced when food is grown
without pesticides, herbicides, and genetic modifications.
Numerous studies have proven the health benefits of organic produce.
A review of 41 published studies comparing the nutritional value of
organically grown and conventionally grown vegetables concluded that
there is 27% more vitamin C, 21.1% more iron, 29.3% more magnesium,
and 13.6% more phosphorus in organically grown produce.
A recent article in the Journal of Applied Nutrition found
63% more Calcium in organic produce than conventionally grown
138% more Magnesium, which reduces mortality from heart attacks,
prevents muscle spasms, and eases the symptoms of PMS
390% more Selenium, an antioxidant that protects humans from
environmental chemicals, cancers, and heart disease. • 70% more
Boron, which prevents osteoporosis
78% more Chromium, a micronutrient that prevents adult diabetes
and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
9 times more salicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory
properties and helps prevent colon cancer and atherosclerosis
15.1% less nitrates, which are thought to elevate the risk of
cancer, in organic produce than their conventional counterparts.
Organic farming also promotes
ecological sustainability. The elimination of polluting chemicals
and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building,
protects and conserves water resources. Organic farming reduces
toxic farming runoff and pollutants that contaminate our water, soil
and air. Well balanced soils grow strong healthy plants that
Organic agriculture respects the
balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is an essential
part of a total farm and is encouraged by including forage crops in
rotation and by retaining fence rows, wetlands, and other natural
The Macoskey Center provides
opportunities for students and community members alike to learn
about and get involved in organic gardening systems. Gardening
workshops are offered by RAMC staff in the spring, and
community gardens are open to everyone.
Slippery Rock students maintain the
Market Garden Project, where they
grow organic produce and sell it in the community. RAMC staff
also manage the
Slippery Rock Farmers' Market.